My Family

My Family
My Family

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Go and Sin No More --- Psalm 51

Tonight's sermon continued the lesson of David's sin with Bathsheba but Pastor JD approached it from the standpoint of what David did after he sinned and was rebuked by Nathan the prophet.  I'd never heard it put quite like this and I was stunned with his words.

He started by listing the 4 typical responses when approached by our sin:
1.  Hide it or deny it
2.  Rationalize or explain it
3.  Blameshift
4.  Repent, just throw ourselves on the mercy of God.

He went on to describe what Gospel-centered repentance looks like:
1.  Its sole hope is the mercy of God.  Is God's mercy enough to get you to heaven?  It's the only thing that can.
2.  It owns that the sin we committed is deeply inherent.  We didn't have to train to become the depraved sinners that we are.  It is a natural thing.
3.  It is first directed toward God. 
    a.  David realized his sin begin as a sin against God.
    b.  God was the most significant one he sinned against.
4.  It cries out for the gospel.  It seeks the coming of Jesus and his redemption.
5.  It embraces the future redemption by the gospel.
6.  It responds to the gospel.

Pastor JD used the illustration of the adulterous woman who was brought before Jesus with a crowd ready to stone her and He wrote a message in the sand that caused the crowd to disband without harming the woman.  Jesus said "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."  Her forgiveness was not based on her works but her works from then on would be based on His forgiveness.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Abounding in Love & Grace

Psalm 103:8-12 "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Thank goodness for this verse.  It epitomizes God's grace towards us.  We have nothing to fear because of Jesus' dying for our sins and taking our place before the Father.  Likewise, the Father was forgiving with David and Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11 & 12.  Their sin was sexual sin which easily finds its way in our lives when we are blessed or when we are struggling.  Odd, you say, that it finds its way in at both of these times but as Pastor JD explained tonight when we are blessed we tend to forget our dependence on God and when we are struggling we are searching for a substitute for God. 

In 2 Sam 11, David was truly blessed as King of Israel but he was also disengaged.  He sent forth his armies without him which was not normally the custom.  Being disengaged from God can happen to any of us if we are not heavenly minded and keeping our eyes on things above.  Avoid temptation.  David was seeking something other than God on top of the palace and found Bathsheba bathing.  Avoiding temptation is far easier than resisting sin.  JD reiterated this point time and again during the sermon.  Don't put yourself in tempting situations, situations where you may have fallen before, situations where you know your mate is weak, any situation that might cause you to sin.  Can you be forgiven?  Of course, there is never a sin that is too much for God to handle or forgive you for.  Not forgiving you would be requiring two payments for the same sin -- remember, Jesus has already paid the debt once and His mercy and grace won't permit 2 payments.  But repentance means trying to learn from your past failures and rise above the sin that plagues you and this world.

David fell to sexual sin and slept with Bathsheba and she conceived a child.  David then had her husband killed and married her and swept the whole thing under the carpet but God knew of the sin.  God was displeased but David sought the Lord and found His favor again.  God had not left David even though David had strayed and sinned.  There were consequences that had to be paid for David's sin.  That's life.  But God's forgiveness is everlasting and is available for each of us, no matter what we have done. 

So what can we draw from David's experience:
1.  Sin can destroy your life.  Repent and accept God's forgiveness.
2.  Be actively engaged in God's plans.  Healthy individuals are washed (clean), justified (safe) and sanctified (special).
3.  Flee temptation.  Just plain RUN!!!  Run Forrest Run!!!
4.  Be captivated by GOD'S beauty -- The way to overcome sexual sin is NOT by learning to love them LESS, it's learning to love God MORE!!!

I was challenged by JD's words. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Almost Heaven

In the absence of JD this week, Pastor Raudel from our Spanish-speaking church brought forth an inspiring message from 2 Peter 3:1-15 connecting our present day with our eternity.  While collecting my thoughts about the sermon I was struck by a few things that he said.  Almost is never good enough.  You never say I'm almost pregnant or we almost won the game (well, maybe you do on the last one but it just isn't the same).  Likewise almost heaven is not good enough.  Heaven will be a glorious place and almost just won't do. 

Peter talks of how there will be scoffers who doubt Jesus is returning and taking us to heaven but Raudel defined scoffers as anyone who doesn't take something seriously or in this case, those who live without an eternal perspective.  We should never forget that "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." (1 Thes 5:9-10).  Likewise, since He did not appoint US to suffer we should not be satisfied until everyone has heard the gospel.  We should be like Him and as it says in 2 Pet 3:9, be patient, not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance.  We should align our daily activities with heavenly intentions.

Raudel defined mercy as not getting what we deserve and grace as getting what we don't deserve.  God bathes us in His mercy and grace.  We should share this with others that they may be saved, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hooping and Hollerin'

I watched today in awe as Louisville made an awesome comeback in the Marquette game.  My awe was not at the display of talent but at the display of support from the fans.  They were dancing and singing and hooping and hollerin'.  And then came the words that set me off, "Louisville reached the promised land."  The promised land?!  The promised land?!  Did the freakin' announcer even know what he was talking about? 

I wondered wouldn't we all be hooping and hollerin' if we had reached the promised land (heaven).  I am looking forward to that day but in the meantime, my praise will show forth the joy that I am going to reach the promised land!!  I will pass through this trials and tribulations and go on to meet my Jesus face to face and at that time there will be a mighty rejoicing or in the words of the song I Can Only Imagine  maybe I will fall to my knees but it will be far better than any ballgame or concert I've been to that's for sure.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I've long thought of myself as a Bapti-costal -- a Baptist person with Pentecostal tendencies lol.  It's been my desire to find a church where I could remove that thinking and regain the independent thinking of just Christian.  I don't know if I've found it but I think I'm pretty close in The Summit, where we regularly attend now but I think the difference is me, not the church itself.  My dad puts it this way, "I bring my worship with me."  I guess that sums it up.  I don't know how others are feeling about the worship at The Summit but when I'm there, I am meeting with my Lord, conversing with my Saviour, worshipping my God.  If you are searching for this too, Bapti-costal or not, come join me.  You won't leave empty.  I assure you that if you come planning on meeting God there, He shows up!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let's Be Real...

I find it humorous when people are judgmental or critical of others who are struggling with sin in their lives because the fact is that we ALL have sin in our lives, no matter how hard we try to be righteous.  The only righteousness we have is given to us by Jesus.  Romans 3 declares that "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."  People use sin as excuses to criticize other people and especially other church goers.  The Word is clear however in 1 John 3 that we should love each other by laying down our lives for each other, not criticizing each other to pieces.  The church is filled with sinners including ourselves.  We should love each other and pray for each other to help each other through our difficulties, not bash each other for our failures. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Grace of God

I was touched today by Pastor Danny's word on the Grace of God.  I think we as a people do not truly understand God's grace.  Wouldn't we live differently if we did?  Afterall, as Danny said, all of our stories are authored by the grace of God.  Webster defines grace as the unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.  I think the keyword here is unmerited.  Remember, life isn't fair!!!  We don't deserve grace or mercy for that matter but because of Jesus' sacrifice that is exactly what we can get. 

Danny continued the sermon to describe what the Grace of God would look like in our lives.
   1.  We would be doing the uncomfortable.  Reaching out to the unlovable is often uncomfortable but aren't we really unlovable too?  Remember, God doesn't rank sin.  Sin stains are all ugly to Him.
   2.  We would be knowing and following God's Word.  James 1:22-25 says it like this, " Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
   3.  We would be identifying with Christ.  The term Christian in itself means little Christ or Christ-like.  It was used to identify the early church because they looked like Jesus.  So should we.
   4.  Selfless giving of our resources and ourselves.  2 Cor 9:7 says, "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

The early church was characterized like we should be -- they asked for grace, they acted in grace but they never assumed the grace of God was theirs.  Thank you, Danny, for a good word from the Lord!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Vision

Psalm 91 is one of my favorite psalms.  "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust."  A delightful beginning, I must say, encouraging one to live close to God, close enough that His shadow will fall on us.  It goes on to say in verse 4 that "He will cover you with His feathers," something that has always intrigued me especially in the light of a vision I feel the Lord gave me long ago. 

    I was praying and was transformed into a spirit-being soaring with wings as a eagle,
    rising above all my earthly problems and then I see His open arms.  I fly towards
    Him with growing peace and yet excitement.  As I approach Him, His arms raise
    to engulf me and I see the glory of heaven around about Him but my focus is clear. 
    As I land at His feet His arms become wings of feathers, just as a mother hen would
    engulf her young.  Such safety, such love, such comfort. 

I've rarely shared this with anyone but maybe if you can see the Lord as I do, you too can feel His feathers comfort you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm Just...Radically Saved...

The singer Carman has a song that fits today's sermon.  It's called Radically Saved.  Pastor JD was on a leave today so Bryan Barley of the newly planted Soma Church in Denver, CO preached today and to sum it up, we should be just Radically Saved.  Our lives should be structured radically around the gospel -- reading, teaching, preaching, living the gospel, all aspects of it.  Our lives should be structured radically around the community with devotion, unity and generosity.  Most of our schedules don't allow such devotion or we WON'T allow it to.  Our lives should be structured radically around the mission -- make disciples who make disciples.  WOW!!!  All this from Acts 2: 42-47 is what life with Jesus looks like.